To pretend that West Virginia didn’t have some disturbing issues in Saturday’s 33-14 win over Kansas would be to deny the obvious.
Offensively, the Mountaineers piled up 557 yards and yet still couldn’t score consistently, settling for four field goals and just two offensive touchdowns. In the last 34 minutes of a 60-minute game against the worst team in the Big 12, WVU’s only touchdown was a kickoff return by Mario Alford.
On special teams, there were once again pluses and minuses, the negatives all but wiping out the positives — at least perceptually — when Kansas took advantage of a muffed punt to score its only offensive touchdown and then becoming the third straight WVU opponent to return a kick for a TD, this time a punt return by Nick Harwell.
Both are major issues the Mountaineers must address as they head into the meat of the Big 12 schedule. It begins with Saturday’s noon game at Texas Tech (2-3, 0-2 Big 12), followed by a gauntlet of ranked teams in No. 5 Baylor, No. 16 Oklahoma State and No. 9 TCU.
But there is a third area where West Virginia (3-2, 1-1) is not only playing well, but already preparing for that stretch of opponents. The Mountaineers unveiled against Kansas a sleeker, faster defensive front designed to be able to rush the passers those upcoming foes will present.
It was not by accident.